[For an update of this posting, please see https://withallduerespectblog.com/2021/06/03/bopc-responds-and-i-reply-to-caz-park-pathway-concerns/ .]
[A version of the following post was published as a letter-to-the-editor in the Buffalo News “Everybody Column” on June 5, 2021.]
Cazenovia Creek is the heart of Cazenovia Park, providing a feature missing from the other gems in the Queen City’s Olmsted Park system’s crown.
Despite the creek’s unique role, the public will soon lose the ability to safely and conveniently walk, run, or bike along a substantial portion of the Caz Creek shoreline if plans approved by Buffalo’s Preservation Board on May 27 are implemented.
[Detail from city’s engineering plans showing the section where asphalt will be replaced by lawn.]
Parkgoers are currently able to traverse an asphalt pathway that starts at Warren Spahn Way (across from a public parking lot) and hugs the creek for about 2,080 feet, the length of just over 5 football fields.
[Beginning of asphalt pathway, across from Warren Spahn Way parking lot, slated for removal.]
The bumpiest section of the pathway – closest to Cazenovia Street – will be removed and replaced with a new asphalt path, a worthy improvement.
Unfortunately, about 700 feet of the path, the section that starts at the bridge near the public parking lot and extends to the northern set of concrete steps, will be removed and not replaced with a new pathway, but filled with topsoil, seeded, and turned into lawn.
[Part of 700-foot pathway slated for removal, replaced with lawn.]
[Section of asphalt path extending between two sets of concrete steps, slated for removal without replacement.]
[View of creek from pathway section that will not be replaced.]
The public was unaware of this disturbing aspect of the plan. The official description of the proposal merely states, “Reconstruct and realign asphalt pathways and remove concrete steps.” The documents available to the public (and, apparently, the Preservation Board), included no narrative, and no discussion of the reasons a 700-foot long portion of the asphalt pavement would not be replaced.
[Northern set of concrete steps slated for removal and replacement with lawn.]
Even the South District Councilmember, Chris Scanlon, did not know the specifics of the proposed project. An hour before the Preservation Board’s vote to approve the plans, my Councilmember emailed me that, “the pathways along the creek are not being removed, they are being replaced.” Mr, Scanlon was incorrect, despite proclaiming that replacing the deteriorated paths “has been a major priority of mine.”
[View of creek through portion of path slated to be removed and not replaced.]
It is bad enough that no public explanation has been given for removal of the iconic concrete steps – a physical reminder of Cazenovia Park’s history.
[Southern concrete steps, slated for removal and replacement by lawn.]
[Northern concrete steps, slated for removal and replacement by lawn.]
There is no excuse for limiting the public’s ability to walk, run and bike along the creek without providing a meaningful explanation for diminishing that option.
[An activity that will be impossible to enjoy if plans to remove the asphalt pathway and replace it with grass is implemented.]
If implemented, the approved plan, apparently proposed by the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy and endorsed by the South District Councilmember, will eliminate the existing choice offered to Cazenovia Park users: to take the high road or low road.
[If implemented, removal of the path alongside Cazenovia Creek will force walkers, runners, and bicyclists to all use the path on the left in this photo, unable to see the creek.]
For the sake of transparency and fairness, Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy and city officials owe it to the public to reconsider this plan, with input from a fully-informed public.
If you agree, you can express your views to the following individuals:
Christopher P. Scanlon, South District Council Member at: 65 Niagara St., Room 1401, Buffalo, NY 14202; firstname.lastname@example.org; 716-851-5169.
Stephanie Crockatt, BOPC Executive Director at: 84 Parkside Ave., Buffalo, NY 14214; 716-838-1249; www.bfloparks.org.
Andrew R. Rabb, Dep. Commr. For Parks & Recreation at: email@example.com; 716-851-5553.
With All Due Respect,